Lawrie, you recently joined Rhapsody to build upon its experience in the eLearning sector. What excites you most about your move to this creative media production agency?
Yes, it’s great to be here. In particular, I’m enjoying working with the creative team. Really talented bunch. We’re working on some very exciting projects, and the team are coming up with engaging and highly-creative content across video, social and eLearning, to name a few channels. It’s some of the best I’ve seen for a while, actually.
You earned your stripes in the traditional repro sector of publishing. eLearning is a relatively new way of delivering training courses. What skills have you brought across from the world of print and paper?
I joined the graphics arts industry at 16, in what was then known as ‘traditional repro’. I’ve been in the trade 50 years now, and the one thing I’ve learned along the way is that you can’t stay still, you have to evolve. Once upon a time it was only ink and paper, now tech has given us the ability to communicate across a number of ways.
Having said that, the most successful brands are the ones who know how to deliver great content in a way that’s engaging and grabs the customer’s attention within the first few seconds. It needs to have the same quality as if you were going to the cinema. And that’s even more important when it comes to eLearning. You need to capture the learner’s attention and keep them engaged throughout the course. Great content does that.
Traditionally, most corporate companies have started their employee training journey with PowerPoint presentations. What makes eLearning and learning development different?
What tends to happen with ‘flat’ training presentations is that you spend an awful lot of money getting a lot of people in one room for a day, only for attention spans to dip throughout the day, and the whole thing becomes a ‘tick box’ exercise. You get the feeling people are just going for the coffee and free lunch.
What good eLearning does is deliver higher engagement and retention at a lower cost. It’s adaptable, learners can schedule it to suit their timetable, it can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. It’s a much smarter way to learn.
That all sounds great from a HR point of view; how does it impact on a company’s bottom line?
eLearning helps you protect your biggest and most important asset - your staff. The more training they receive, the better your duty of care to them. If you don’t give them that information, you’ll have a high turnover of staff. That costs. Add the fact that more informed and well-trained staff provide better service to clients and it makes complete business sense to invest in learning development.
If a company wanted an eLearning course for their employees or clients, what are the three biggest considerations you’d recommend they think about?
Firstly decide what you want your employee to get out of it. That will then shape what type of content and course you invest in (custom-built or off the shelf LMS ). That will then determine the budget you need and your required return on investment. Just one point on this, if you go down the ‘off the shelf’ route, initially it may seem cheaper but it tends not to work out to be cost-effective in the long-term. Licences have to be renewed year-on-year, they tend to be industry-specific and not personalised to your company’s culture and requirements.
Can you share more about any eLearning projects that Rhapsody have recently delivered?
Sure. We’ve just created a travel advice course for London-based security risk analysts, Alert:24 who wanted to move away from PowerPoints and further mitigate the risks of business travel for their clients and staff. You can read the case study here.
If someone is considering moving to eLearning, what should be their next steps?
Make a list of your main objectives and decide what you want the course to do. Typically, I walk clients through this part of the process, where we look at the ‘why’s before we move onto the how’s. Working in partnership with a client and listening to their individual needs is of the utmost importance. It enables me to get a real insight as to what the course needs to deliver, how certification will work and ultimately how each employee stands to benefit from learning through this method.
I’ll be at Security & Counter Terror Expo in March sharing more about how eLearning can help protect your biggest asset – your people. If you would like a one-to-one or an informal chat, please book in a time with Lawrie Cook.
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